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Google Places: Optimizing Your Listing

In a previous post, I discussed how local search is one of the fastest growing trends in search marketing and how in the near future a majority of what you see on the first page of your Google search results will be Google places listings.  So even if you’ve accomplished obtaining page one, position one in organic search results, you’ll still be fighting for attention below the vast list of Google places results.  But just creating a Google places listing, doesn’t guarantee you’ll get noticed.  Just like any other web page, your Google places page needs to be optimized in order to improve your position in local search results.

There are several ways you can optimize your Google places page and improve your position in local search results. First and foremost, make sure your website, home page as well as each individual landing page, contains the same address and phone number you have listed in your Google places page.  My first question was, “Would that be considered duplicate content, and isn’t that bad for SEO?”  Yes, it is duplicate content, but Google recognizes what it is and does not count it towards the duplicate content that negatively affects organic rankings.  In fact, any website providing your company information, such as your social sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, or perhaps partners or resellers’ sites, need to have the same address and phone number listed in your Google places listing.

When creating your Google places page, be sure to fill out as much of the non-required information as you can and feel comfortable providing. You have the option of providing an email address, website and description of your business as well as fields such as Service Areas and Location Settings, Hours of operations and Payment options. The more complete your Google places page is, the better your chances of showing up in local search results, so make sure to include photos and video if you have them.  You can include up to 10 photos and up to 5 videos.

Finally, the best way to ensure a better position in local search results is customer reviews.  The more people mentioning your company or linking directly to it, the more credible you are to Google and the more likely you are to show up higher in Google places results.  Encourage your customers to review your company.  Reviews can be posted directly on Google places, but Google will also pull reviews from other sites, reiterating why it is important that your phone number and address are included on the other sites your company may appear on. However, Google will kick out identical reviews that appear in multiple places, so make sure all your reviews are unique.

It may sound complicated, but these are small things the average person can do to make a name for their business and start increasing site traffic.  You don’t have to be an electronic marketer to get noticed in local search – so start experimenting. Leave your comments and let me know how it’s working for you!

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